What Dangers Exist In Unloading Railcars

For a long time, trains have been a fascination to many children as they see a long train full of colorful freight cars roll by. However, known to few, trains have also been a source of suffering for many people, especially for drivers who sometimes wish railroads never existed.

The truth is, railroads have a significant role in the economy of any state because trains are more energy-efficient; hence a more substantial share of freight cargo is transported by train. The reinforced steel wheel moving on refined steel rail is a remarkably effective and inexpensive means to transport bulky luggage to far distances.

Nonetheless, railroading is undeniably a hazardous business. There’s always potential injury when workers and railcars interact. More so, workers who fail to follow the safety measures when loading and offloading cars can face severe damage.


Safety Measures in Unloading Railcars

First, how you load will determine the safety of unloading. Therefore, before loading, it would be best to check if the railcar is in perfect mechanical condition. This involves checking;

  • Weathertight/leakproof
  • The Interior floor is in excellent condition without holes as well as the interior walls
  • Doors and locking devices are in good condition; hence close securely and adequately
  • Safety appliances, for example, ladders, railings, and steps, are not broken
  • No other conditions give a sign of being abnormal

The workers need to be in safety gear before unloading. Usually, railcars transport deadly chemicals such as nuclear fuel or radioactive earth; therefore, any slight leakage can be a fatal result.

Unloading a car is common to create hazards, hence the need to follow proper procedures. In nearly all situations, adequate mechanisms should mechanically hold the railcar in position to ensure it doesn’t move or tip over as the contents are offloaded.

Also, the workers should take out the contents steadily through the car’s breadth to avoid any risks of tipping. Furthermore, oversized and heavy materials like grains, cement, sand, and dry chemicals may obstruct the process of opening and closing the doors and gates during unloading. This way, the worker can tip over or bang themselves against the door.

Usually, railcar doors are securely closed; thus, opening by hand is likely to cause injury. So, pneumatic car door openers makes a better option for workers to use because of they deliver greater force.

It would be best to ensure that the door hinges are well-positioned and the gearing devices functioning effectively. Also, it would be best if you were cautious about the likelihood that a heavy load may be leaning against the door.

Before you unload hopper railcars that have gate locks, do not open the gate before opening all the coils. After safely removing the load, close the gate firmly, engage the lock, and then confirm that it is properly closed and locked before walking away.

Generally, proper loading and unloading procedures will ensure that the train and cargo stay safe throughout the journey and safely reach the destination. Better still, the workers will be safe and call it a day.

Post Author: Rae Schwan